I had a great month of reading in May. I read so many good books. I read more for pleasure this time, so maybe I’ll try to focus on some non-fiction on my list for June. Either way, I’m enjoying reading so much again. I can’t believe I stopped for so many years.
Hide and Seek by Mary Burton
I read this on Kindle, alternating between reading and listening to the audio version. This is the second in a series featuring FBI agent Macy Crowe. I thought the first book (Cut and Run) was better, but this book develops Macy more and takes you through her recovery from a hit and run attempt on her life in the first book. Macy heads back into the field to work as a profiler after the discovery of the body of a teenage girl who has been missing 15 years. She also rekindles a romance with a former colleague who is now the sheriff of the county where the body is discovered. The first part of the book is a little slow and basically moves you through all the steps and interviews Macy and other law enforcement officers take to solve a series of murders after they make connections between the missing 15 year old and other cases. Everything ties together nicely at the end. I rate it 3 stars because the story moved so slow.
Verity- by Colleen Hoover- I also read this on Kindle. Oh my! I didn’t want to put this one down, and read it in a pretty short time frame, but it is so disturbing. Just creepy. I gave it 5 stars but I’d give full caution to anyone who hasn’t read it yet that it is very twisted and disturbing. Lowen accepts an offer to finish a series of books by another author, Verity, who has become disabled. Lowen stays in the author’s home to read her notes and do research on the series. She finds an unpublished autobiography that includes confessions about the deaths of her children. Lowen also develops a romance with Verity’s husband and things get really weird. The circumstances of Verity’s disabling accident are also questionable. I won’t spoil it, but beware. 5 stars
The House We Grew Up In– by Lisa Jewell- I read this through Scribd. I listened to the audio version a bit, but found it to be a more enjoyable read than to listen, so I read this one. This is a very enjoyable book that covers a lot of mental health issues including suicide and hoarding. I had never thought about hoarding as a mental health issue until this book. Other issues include homosexuality, obsessive compulsive disorders, adultery and all the family members coming to terms with a tragedy that changed all of their lives and separated them until another event brings them back together again years later. Heavy issues, but presented in a light hearted entertaining manner. 5 stars
Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah- Another Kindle Unlimited book. Alternated between reading and audio version. Joanna Teale is a graduate student returning to her research after the death of her mother and her own battle with breast cancer. Gabriel Nash is a recluse who lives near Jo’s rental. Nash struggles with depression and family issues. Ursa, a little girl who claims to be an alien in a human body, shows up at Jo’s. Jo seeks Gabriel’s help in identifying her and trying to find her family. The three form a bond that makes choices about their future difficult, but ultimately brings healing to all. Some parts are funny and entertaining, and other parts are heartbreaking. 5 stars
The Overdue Life of Amy Byler– by Kelly Harms- Kindle Unlimited- alternating between reading and audio version. This was another book that I thought might be a bit silly based on the description, but I ended up loving it! So entertaining. Any woman struggling to maintain her identity as a woman first above all of her many other roles will identify and appreciate this book. All the fashionistas out there will also totally appreciate the 15 year old daughter’s attempt to pick out clothes for her mom’s trip, as well Amy’s friend’s attempt to makeover Amy. Make sure you read this one this summer. 5 stars
The Summer Wind– by Mary Alice Monroe- Read via Scribd The Summer Wind is the second book in Monroe’s Lowcountry Summer trilogy, following The Summer Girls. This series is a heartwarming story of three half-sisters and their grandmother, who is determined to help them rediscover their southern roots and family bonds. This is a summer of discovery for all the women of Sea Breeze. Carson returns from Florida to face life-changing decisions, Lucille confronts a health scare, and Harper is reconsidering her life’s direction. Dora is faced with decisions about her divorce, her son’s Autism and the need to rediscover herself and put herself first, not always following the rules. Just as The Summer Girls left me with a need to read this second book, the story left much hanging about the girls and I’ve got to read the next book. I’m more than willing because these are enjoyable books. 5 stars
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng- I purchased a used copy via Thriftbooks and also listened to parts on Scribd. I kept seeing this book everywhere on Instagram and in the book recommendation emails I subscribe to and it has rave reviews. I finished the book but I just can’t rave about it. This was probably my least favorite book of the month. I don’t have anything to criticize about it, and I totally get the thumbing at the rule followers and planners, but nothing about this book excited me. While it’s full of delightful irony between Mrs. Richardson and her rule following, social acceptable personality and Mia, a free spirit artist with secrets galore, the whole story just fell flat with me. Ultimately there was great sadness in how it all turned out. Well written but I can only give it 3 stars.
Ted Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking– Kindle Unlimited/ audio version on Scribd. It took both reading and listening for me to get through this one. If you ever need to give a presentation to an audience, there are some great pointers in here. It does get a little boring, and like many books of this type, I found it to repeat some points too much. Still a good reference for speaking and some points could be adapted to writing. 3 stars
When God Doesn’t Fix It: Lessons You Never Wanted to Learn, Truths You Can’t Live Without by Laura Story- Audible version. I saved the absolute best for last! The narrator did a fabulous job. Laura Story presents her struggles with her husband’s brain tumor and disability and admits what many Christians don’t want to- we struggle, we doubt God, we have questions. We don’t want the church to see that, but sometimes those are the very things God wants to use most. I was so convicted throughout this story, at times I wanted to sit in the floor and weep bitterly. This should be required reading for all believers and Christians. I absent mindedly put this in my que with no expectations, but God had a purpose for me reading/ listening to this one. 5 stars